Design and evaluation of a shape memory alloy-based tendon-driven actuation system for biomimetic artificial fingers




Bundhoo, Vishalini

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This thesis presents the preliminary work in the development of a biomimetic actuation mechanism for prosthetic and wearable robotic hand applications. This work investigates the use of novel artificial muscle technology, namely, shape memory alloys. The mechanism developed is based on the combination of compliant tendon cables and one-way shape memory alloy wires that form a set of agonist–antagonist artificial muscle pairs for the required flexion/extension or abduction/adduction of the finger joints. For the purpose of this thesis, an anthropomorphic four degree of freedom artificial testbed was developed with the same kinematic properties as the human finger. Hence, the size, appearance and kinematic architecture of the index finger were efficiently and practically mimicked. The biomimetic actuation scheme was implemented on the anthropomorphic artificial finger and tested, in an ad-hoc fashion, with a simple microcontroller-based pulse width modulated proportional derivation (PWD-PD) feedback controller. The tests were done to experimentally validate the performance of the actuation mechanism as emulating the natural finger’s joints movement. This thesis details the work done for the finger design process as well as the mechanisms and material used to achieve the actuation and control objectives. The results of the experiments done with the actuation platform are also presented.



Biomimetic, Human hand, Anthropomorphic, Robotic, Shape Memory Alloys, Artificial muscles, Prosthetic, Artificial finger, PWM PD control